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Modeling state-dependent inactivation of membrane currents.

S Marom, L F Abbott

Biophys. J., 1994 Aug , 67, 515-20

Inactivation of many ion channels occurs through largely voltage-independent transitions to an inactivated state from the open state or from other states in the pathway leading to opening of the channel. Because this form of inactivation is state-dependent rather than voltage-dependent, it cannot be described by the standard Hodgkin-Huxley formalism used in virtually all modeling studies of neuronal behavior. Using two examples, cumulative inactivation of the Kv3 potassium channel and inactivation of the fast sodium channel, we extend the standard formalism for modeling macroscopic membrane currents to account for state-dependent inactivation. Our results provide an accurate description of cumulative inactivation of the Kv3 channel, new insight into inactivation of the sodium channel, and a general framework for modeling macroscopic currents when state-dependent processes are involved. In a model neuron, the macroscopic Kv3 current produces a novel short-term memory effect and firing delays similar to those seen in hippocampal neurons.